Wondering What To Do When You Inherit a House? Here Are the Next Steps You Should Take

by | Feb 23, 2024 | Uncategorized

Inheriting a house is not just a legal process; it can be an emotional journey that often comes with various challenges and decisions. Whether you’re planning to rent, sell, or live in an inherited property, understanding the next steps is crucial to making the transition as smooth as possible. This guide will walk you through the necessary actions to take, so you know what to do when you inherit a house. 

Contact Your Lawyer or Family Estate Planner

During this time, the probate process can not only be emotional but also filled with legalities and paperwork, which can be overwhelming, but you can reach out to a lawyer or family estate planner to guide you through it. This is to legitimize the inheritance and ensure that the process is as easy for you as possible. The legal processes surrounding probate can vary by state, and in Florida, you will need a circuit court judge to preside over the proceedings. It’s essential to consult with a lawyer or a family estate planner to navigate through the legalities involved. 

 

This step becomes even more critical if the property is inherited by multiple individuals. In such cases, legal professionals can help arrange buyouts, facilitate transfers, or guide you through the process of selling the property together. Once you have a clear title to the property, you can move forward with buying, selling, or renting. 

Assess the Property’s Condition

Before making any decisions about the inherited property, you should assess its current condition. An appraisal can help you determine if it’s livable, needs repairs, or requires any modifications before you decide to live, sell, or rent it. Getting an appraisal can provide you with insight into the property’s value and help you make an informed decision about how to move forward. Understanding the property’s value also helps adjust the tax value of the property and can help you understand how best to insure your inherited home, so you can feel assured that you’re protected from back taxes or potential natural disasters.

Transfer Utilities and Pay Any Past Due Bills

Before you put your name on the title, you should take care of utilities and any past-due bills to make the inheritance process easier for you. Since the property is still considered an asset of the deceased, you can use their assets to settle outstanding debts, which can simplify the process. Once all bills are paid up, change all utilities into your name promptly to avoid shut-offs and late fees, or cancel the utilities if you aren’t planning on using them. With other bills and property taxes associated with the probate process, make sure to pay them upfront to prevent potential upcharges or penalties.

 

Assess the Mortgage

If there is an existing mortgage on the inherited property, it’s essential to understand the details and ensure that payments are up-to-date. Contacting the lender can provide insights into the mortgage terms, allowing you to make informed decisions about the property’s future. If the balance owed is higher than the property’s value, there are specific options, such as selling it for no less than 95% of the appraised value with the mortgage insurance covering the rest. You can also choose to take the mortgage on for yourself if you plan on keeping the property. 

Check Your Insurance Policy

While you may not be able to keep the same insurance policy as the previous owner, you can contact their insurer to determine your options. While the property is going through probate, you may be restricted in the changes you can make to the current policy. During this period, you should stay in touch with the insurance company to ensure your property remains adequately insured during the transition.

Clean Out the Estate

Sorting through the belongings of the inherited property can be an emotionally charged task, but one that’s necessary to move forward with the healing process. To start the cleanout, you’ll need to allocate the possessions laid out in the will. Then you can figure out what you’d like to do with any remaining items, whether furniture, clothes, or other unwanted items. You can choose to hold an estate sale, donate items to charity for a tax deduction, or hire a junk removal company to make the process easier and more efficient.

 

Taking the Next Steps

Once you’ve taken these initial actions, you’ll be better equipped to decide whether you want to move into, sell, or rent the inherited property. The next steps will depend on your specific goals and circumstances, but by following these guidelines, you’ll have a solid foundation for your decision-making process. We understand that dealing with an inherited property can be a burdensome and emotional process. Our goal is to help you move forward, ensuring that you don’t have to carry the weight alone. Contact us for a free quote or estimate on your estate clear-out. We’re here to support you during this challenging time. 

 

 

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